Wayward Pines (Thursday, July 23, Fox), series finale: For a second, there were rumors that Fox might Under the Dome us and crank out a second season of Wayward Pines, even though it was originally billed as a “10-episode limited series.” But! Tonight is indeed the end of the story of a bizarre little Idaho town (yes, redundant) wherein a Secret Service agent (Matt Dillon) learns the truth about why he, nor any other townies, can never leave. It’s one hell of a twist; if you’ve yet to visit Wayward Pines, either due to the previously mentioned Dome factor or the presence of producer/director M. Night Shyamalan, you should; I’m not going to spoil it here. Hulu it; on-demand it; think of it as a 10-hour movie—just do it.
Sex With Brody (Fridays, E!), new series: What’s worse than a radio show repurposed as a TV show? Nothing. At least The Glenn Beck Program on The Blaze, with its white microphones and illusion of floating in “Heaven,” attempts to add a visual element—Beck may be a frothing lunatic, but he does understand showmanship (as most prophets of doom do). The rest of these shows, from tabloid talkers, sports yakkers, etc., are just cameras pointed at mannequins in headphones. Sex With Brody goes the extra mile into hell by giving Brody Jenner—one of the myriad talentless dependents of The Artist Formerly Known as Bruce—a forum to give advice as a “sexual connoisseur,” propped up by a “comedian” sidekick so bland I’ve already forgotten his name twice. Which brings us to …
I Am Cait (Sunday, July 26, E!), series debut: Believe it or not, I have no problem with Caitlyn Jenner’s transition from Bruce being used as a marketing ploy for an E! reality show about, of course, Caitlyn Jenner’s transition from Bruce. In fact, I’m all for it, because I Am Cait could very well be the series that wipes all other Kardashian/Jenner-related programs off of television. Who’s going to care about those famous-for-nothing idiot sisters and their tedious shows about … what, exactly? … when this drops? If Caitlyn can rid us of Kim, Khloe, Keebler, Khrunky and the rest of the Kardashians klogging up kable, she truly is an American hero. Cue “The Star-Spangled Banner,” flags, balloons, etc.
Rick and Morty (Sunday, July 26, Adult Swim), season premiere: When it premiered in 2013, Rick and Morty seemed almost too smart for its own good: Boozehound sociopath scientist Rick (voiced by Justin Roiland) drags his slow-witted nephew Morty (also Roiland) along on increasingly dangerous inter-dimensional trips to alternate universes, all of which end up with Morty nearly being maimed or molested, and Rick lamenting the utter stupidity of humankind—kind of a twisted sci-fi cartoon take on the Doc/Marty dynamic of Back to the Future (or as close as you can get without receiving a cease-and-desist from Robert Zemeckis). But now that Roiland and co-creator Dan Harmon are (cult) heroes of the animation world, Season 2 looks to be even more unhinged, profane and frighteningly scientifically plausible than ever. You don’t need another season of Cosmos—you just need Rick and Morty.
The Bachelorette (Monday, July 27, ABC), season finale: Since Kaitlyn (popular name, huh?) Bristowe is pretty much the best Bachelorette ever, here’s hoping she chooses none of these clowns.
Last Comic Standing (Wednesday, July 29, NBC), new season: The checkered history of Last Comic Standing is loaded with “losers” who went on to fame (Amy Schumer, Gabriel Iglesias), “winners” who’ve had to claw their way back (Iliza Shlesinger, Josh Blue) and head-scratching footnotes (Ant? God’s Pottery?). Season 9 of LCS is about as necessary as 3-8 (read: not at all), but new additions Norm Macdonald (as a judge alongside returnees Roseanne Barr and Keenen Ivory Wayans) and Anthony Jeselnik (as the host) rate a look: Both comedians have been banished from NBC late-night (Macdonald was fired from Saturday Night Live; Jeselnik quit as a writer for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon) for being too “edgy,” and now they’re back in primetime? Is no one running NBC anymore? Is it just like the night shift at an Arby’s over there?